HOT TOPIC

THEY ARE THE MOST ICONIC FAM­ILY ON THE SUN­SHINE COAST, IF NOT AUS­TRALIA, BUT THE IRWIN’S ARE MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. HERE’S THE PROOF.

Life & Style Weekend - - OUR SAY -

DAVE

It was 2007 and I had just been through five weeks of in­ter­views to work at Aus­tralia Zoo in the events depart­ment. I was of­fered the job and I’m not go­ing to lie, I was pretty chuffed to be don­ning the same khaki out­fit made fa­mous by the Crocodile Hunter. So, I took a selfie in in my new uni­form to send to friends be­cause I was proud. During my two years work­ing at Aus­tralia Zoo, I learnt a lot about my­self, an­i­mals and con­ser­va­tion but the thing that stood out for me was learn­ing how in­cred­i­ble the Irwin fam­ily unit was. I worked at the Zoo the year af­ter Steve had passed, so yes, it was a som­bre time. But it was also a time where I had the op­por­tu­nity to see a mum stretch her wings out to bring her chil­dren a bit closer and pro­tect them. From what I saw be­hind the scenes, Terri Irwin is not pas­sion­ate about any­thing more than her chil­dren. Yes, she’s a bril­liant com­mu­ni­ca­tor, con­ser­va­tion­ist and busi­ness woman but like most great mothers if you do ANY­THING to put her chil­dren at risk, it will not end well for you.

Ok, yeah every con­ver­sa­tion I have with some­one about work­ing with the Ir­wins be­gins with “but they’re a bit over the top aren’t they?” I get it peo­ple but shut up! Who cares if they’re over the top or a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from you, at least they’re do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive for the world. They’re so im­por­tant for the tourism in­dus­try on the Sun­shine Coast too, so don’t take this fam­ily for granted.

A fun fact, noth­ing has brought as many tourists to the Sun­shine Coast than Bindi win­ning Danc­ing With The Stars in the US.

SAM

Steve Irwin would be turn­ing in his grave if he knew that the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment had just leg­is­lated the har­vest­ing of salt­wa­ter crocodile eggs in the state he called home. When we spoke with the Irwin’s they called it ig­no­rant, I call it ir­re­spon­si­ble. This is­sue alone again shone the spot­light on a fam­ily we all know, but rarely con­sider their im­por­tance to our re­gion, our home and in­deed our world.

Let’s put aside the tourism and lo­cal eco­nomic and em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with one of the most iconic Australian fam­i­lies, and look at what they do for us on a con­ser­va­tion level.

The Irwin’s (and I in­clude Steve in this) have worked tire­lessly their whole lives pro­mot­ing and pro­tect­ing wildlife glob­ally, but with a par­tic­u­lar slant towards na­tive Australian wildlife.

The cre­ation of the Wildlife War­riors (for­merly the Steve Irwin Con­ser­va­tion Foun­da­tion) and the count­less breed­ing, res­cue, sci­en­tific and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grams they have ini­ti­ated or funded is mind-blow­ing.

And the global at­ten­tion they bring to en­dan­gered species and ef­forts made to pro­tect them is un­matched.

But did you also know that they have pur­chased thou­sands of hectares of vital land from farm­ers, grow­ers, pri­vate com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als with the sole pur­pose of turn­ing the land into sanc­tu­ar­ies and pro­tected ar­eas for con­ser­va­tion pur­poses, truly putting their money where their mouths are.

ASH

The Ir­wins are the most iconic fam­ily here on the Sun­shine Coast. I re­mem­ber grow­ing up watch­ing Steve Irwin on TV on a Sun­day night with the fam­ily and how cool he was. He wasn’t afraid to get in there with a mas­sive crocodile, a big python or a cute cud­dly koala.

I re­mem­ber one balmy Palm­woods evening, we were watch­ing him on TV. He was do­ing a snake spe­cial and as the cred­its started rolling on the TV, a snake slith­ered un­der our door and was about two feet away from my dad’s feet as he was ly­ing on his side on the mat. The snake then slith­ered be­hind the TV cabi­net and be­ing a nine-year-old, I was cer­tain that the snake had also watched Steve Irwin on TV and wanted to be fa­mous. So he thought slith­er­ing through the TV cabi­net to get to the TV would snag him some fame.

My point is, ev­ery­one wanted to be Steve. Grow­ing up, go­ing to Aus­tralia Zoo on the school hol­i­days was a favourite past time of mine and my broth­ers. We got to see him in ac­tion and, back then, a very young Bindi as well. Even though Steve is no longer with us we all know deep down his legacy will never be lost. Terri, Bindi and Robert are ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble con­ser­va­tion­ists and there is no doubt that Steve would be look­ing down with his big cheesy grin, just proud as punch. They al­ways have been, and al­ways will be amaz­ing role mod­els for us and for gen­er­a­tions to come. To have this in­spir­ing fam­ily on the Sun­shine Coast, who also get to pro­mote our great re­gion every day, is just a bless­ing.

TUNE IN FOR DAVE, SAM AND ASH ON HOT 91.1 ON WEEKDAYS FOR BREAK­FAST FROM 5.30AM. .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

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